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Minnesota Medtech Week Innovation Prize Rules




The Minnesota Medtech Week Innovation Prize (the "Contest") is sponsored by UBM Canon LLC, 2901 28th St., Ste. 100, Santa Monica, CA 90405 ("UBM" or "Sponsor").  The Contest is governed by these Official Rules, as well as by the laws of the State of New York and applicable United States federal law, without regard to any conflicts of laws principles. The Contest is void where prohibited or restricted by law. By entering the contest, each entrant agrees to abide by the terms of these Official Rules and by the decisions of Sponsors, which are final and binding on all matters pertaining to the contest.     


To enter, you need to be a Minnesota Medtech Week exhibitor and submit a 400 word description through an online survey link that answers the following questions:

1)    Describe an innovation your company developed between 2014 and the present and its potential application in medical devices.

2)    Describe how the innovation works.

3)    Describe how your innovation adds value for medical device OEMs.

4)    Describe what distinguishes your product or service from those of competitors and what makes it unique in the market? Entrants also need to submit a photo or rendering of the product or service being described via email (hand-drawn images will not be accepted). All entries must be received by 5 p.m. Pacific time October 14, 2015.

UBM publication editors will review all submissions and determine ten finalists based 70% on the potential impact of the innovation on OEMs/market and 30% on the competitive advantage it would give. On or about October 15, 2015, ten (10) semifinalists will be chosen by our editorial team.

UBM Canon's editorial team will then ask the audience of Qmed and MD+DI readers to help select five (5) finalists that will be featured as part of a tour at Minnesota Medtech Week. This announcement will occur on or about October 19, 2015.

The winner will be selected at the event by votes from participants in the Innovation Prize Tour. In the event of a tie, UBM Canon's editorial team will help select a winner.


The final winner will be announced on November 4 at Minnesota Medtech Week.

Entrants grant to UBM the unconditional right to use the entries in promotion of the Contest and as UBM sees fit in promotion of its products and services.  However, UBM shall not, by virtue of these rules, gain any intellectual property right in or to the underlying content of the entries.

The odds of winning are determined by the total number of eligible participants. 

Winner will be required to: (1) provide full mailing address for the purpose of receiving the prize(s), which address must be within the 50 United States (excluding Puerto Rico) or Canada (excluding Quebec); (2) sign and return a release of liability, declaration of eligibility, and, where lawful, a publicity release, upon Sponsor's request; (3) verify its taxpayer identification number; and (4) take possession of the prize(s) in the manner specified by Sponsors. In addition, selected Canadian entrants must first correctly answer a time-limited mathematical skill testing question administered by telephone in order to claim a prize.  If the above requirements are not met, the prize(s) may be awarded to a replacement winner. The replacement winner will need to satisfy all of the requirements of these Official Rules. This process will be repeated until the prize(s) are awarded in full.


The Winner will receive a 22-inch-by-28-inch sign to display at Minneapolis and future shows. The sign will announce the fact that the company is the 2015 Minnesota Medtech Week Innovation Prize winner.

In the event of unavailability of a stated prize, Sponsor reserves the right to substitute items of equal or greater value. Prizes are not transferable, exchangeable, or redeemable for cash. Reporting and payment of any federal, state, provincial, local, VAT, or other taxes, fees, customs, duties, insurance, or other amounts owed in connection with any prize are the sole responsibility of the winner. Winner will be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility, liability release, and grant permission to use his/her name and likeness for advertising and promotion (without further compensation) within 21 days of notification or alternate winner will be selected. (Tennessee residents need not complete and return a publicity release.)



The Contest is open to any company incorporated in the 50 United States, including the District of Columbia (excluding Puerto Rico) and Canada (excluding Quebec) who is a Minnesota Medtech Week exhibitor and who attends the Event. Officers, directors, and employees of Sponsors and/or their parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, divisions, or agents (including but not limited to advertising, promotion and production agencies) and members of their immediate families (including spouse, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, step-children, step-parents and in-laws) or those with whom they are domiciled are not eligible. Finalists must be willing to have their technology highlighted at the show as part of a Innovation Tour, as outlined above.


Sponsors reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any entrant that Sponsors determine: (1) has tampered with the entry process or the operation of the contest; (2) has acted in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner or with the intent to annoy or harass Sponsors or any other person or entity; (3) has not satisfied all of the requirements for entry in the contest; or (4) to be otherwise ineligible under, or otherwise in violation of, these Official Rules. Any attempt by an entrant to commit any of the above acts of misconduct may be a violation of civil or criminal law and Sponsors reserve the right to seek damages from such entrant to the fullest extent permitted by law.


By entering the contest you agree to participate at your own risk.  By entering, each entrant releases and holds harmless Sponsors, any manufacturer or supplier of any prize, any other persons or entities involved in the contest, each of its and their respective parents, subsidiaries, and affiliates, and each of its and their respective officers, directors, employees, and agents, from any responsibility or liability whatsoever arising out of or resulting from: (1) entry or participation in the contest; (2) the acceptance, possession, or use of any prize; (3) any violation by such entrant of these Official Rules or applicable laws; (4) any incorrect or inaccurate entry of information including, but not limited to as a result of technical malfunctions, human error, lost/delayed data transmission, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, line failures of any telephone network, computer equipment, software or any combination thereof; (5) entry materials that have been tampered with, or entries that are illegible, late, lost, damaged, postage due or misdirected; (6) any injury or damage to participants or any other person or property to or resulting from participation or downloading any material in connection with the contest; and (7) any conditions arising from events beyond Sponsors' reasonable control. By entering the Contest you acknowledge the risks related to participation in a scavenger hunt and assume all liability arising from your actions.



By entering, each entrant grants to Sponsors the right to use and publish such entrant's entry content, name, state of residence, and any other information in any winning entry both online and in print, in connection with the contest, without additional compensation, except to the extent prohibited by law.  In addition, by entering, each entrant consents to the use of their names and likeness for advertising and/or promotional and/or marketing purposes without additional compensation. (A Tennessee resident consents to the use of his name and likeness only if such Tennessee resident expressly consents to such use.) Sponsors reserve the right to use any information provided by entrants in connection with the Contest in any manner permitted by these Official Rules.


Sponsors reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest at any time for any reason, including but not limited to any reason that affects the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of the contest.  Such reasons included but are not limited to fraud, tampering, unauthorized access, infections by computer virus, bugs, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of Sponsors. In the event that Sponsor terminates the Contest before all Prizes are awarded, Sponsor shall award all Prizes earned up to the effective date and time of termination and no other Prizes will be awarded/.


Nothing contained in these Official Rules or in any of the Contest materials should be construed as an endorsement by Sponsors of any prize manufacturers or suppliers or other third party, product, or service.


For the name of the prize winner, available after November 4, 2015, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:

UBM Supplier Innovation Challenge

2901 28th St. Ste. 100, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Requests must be received by November 30, 2015.  Questions regarding the Contest may be directed to Brian Buntz and Chris Newmarker.  Sponsor's telephone number is 415-947-6416.

Connected, Data-driven Care is What It's All About

Connected, Data-driven Care is What It's All About

Qualcomm Life's purchase of Capsule, a medical device integration and clinical data management company, underscores that the future of healthcare lies in connected, data-driven care. 


Arundhati Parmar

They say knowledge is power and no where is it more relevant today than in healthcare.

Companies today are trying to connect disparate devices to glean actionable information; finding ways to pull data from proprietary devices; and crunching large datasets in a bid to reveal patterns that can help manage patients better.

The latest news from Qualcomm Life, a subsidiary of Qualcomm focused on leveraging wireless technology to advance the capabilities of medical devices, points to this trend of connected care and mobility as key to the future of healthcare.

The San Diego company announced Monday that is acquiring Capsule, which is a medical device integration and clinical data management company used by 1,930 hospitals in 38 countries around the world. Qualcomm Life's wireless solutions help to connect medical devices for patients at home. Meanwhile, Capsule's capability is not only connecting devices but also integrating them into a patient's electronic medical record across the entire hospital network.

In other words, Qualcomm's Internet of Medical Things can now extend from the home to the hospital. 

"Qualcomm is focused on strengthening its position in specific Internet of Everything verticals, like healthcare,” said Derek Aberle, president, Qualcomm Incorporated, in a news release. “The acquisition of Capsule expands the breadth of our healthcare platform, enabling us to provide connectivity solutions for the entire care continuum and create one of the world’s largest connected health ecosystems. This will be an important step in advancing the Internet of Medical Things.”

Capsule's technology also allows clinical decision support by going beyond simple data integration into providing alarms, notifications and asset management tools. 

“As health care continues to move into the home and ambulatory settings and outside of traditional care areas such as the hospital, the convergence of medical device data from wherever the patient is located is critically important,” explained Gene Cattarina, CEO, Capsule. “Together, Qualcomm Life and Capsule will power this convergence by making data more
accessible and interoperable among care teams to provide true continuity of care at the hospital, in the home and at all points in between.”

This idea of interoperability is something that another company also based in San Diego is leveraging to give knowledge and actionable insight to physicians when they need it most - in the emergency room. Geneva Healthcare is a software company that can interrogate implanted cardiac devices and the programmers made by different companies and present the device data in a convenient dashboard format. The same data can be integrated into the patient's medical record. Previously, patients and doctors would have to wait for the arrival of a rep from the company whose implanted device was in the patient to get access to the patient data.

Geneva can also pull cardiac device data from the home as well as in clinic settings.

While Qualcomm and Geneva are trying to use technology to glean actionable information for individual patients, companies like IBM Watson Health also deal with data but on a much larger scale though the end result is similar - provide better care for patients to improve outcomes.

In IBM Watson's case, it is leveraging the power of a supercomputer to crunch large amounts of clinical data and arrive at a meaningful clinical suggestion for doctors.

In all the above cases, it's the potential for data and connected care to make the difference in patients' lives is what is exciting in the new world of healthcare.

Arundhati Parmar is senior editor at MD+DI. Reach her at and on Twitter @aparmarbb 

To learn more about medical devices and trends in the marketplace, attend the two-day MD&M Minneapolis conference, Nov. 4 and 5 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. 

Medtech Salary Survey 2015: Get More

Get More

Get medtech salary breakdowns by job description for positions in general and corporate management, product design engineering, QA/QC, regulatory and legal affairs, R&D, and production and manufacturing. Access the free report here.


Continue on to "The Highest-Paying Jobs in Medtech"



Medtech Salary Survey 2015: Job Satisfaction

Job Satisfaction

Most medtech employees are satisfied with their position. Overall job satisfaction in the industry was 3.9 out of 5.
Want more? Check out our free Medtech Salary Survey report, with breakdowns by job description.

Medtech Salary Survey 2015: Job Security

Job Security

Most medtech employees say their job security has not changed over the past year.
Want more? Check out our free Medtech Salary Survey report, with breakdowns by job description.

Medtech Salary Survey 2015: Job Seeking Status

Job Seeking Status

A majority of medtech employees are not looking for a new job.
Want more? Check out our free Medtech Salary Survey report, with breakdowns by job description. 

Medtech Salary Survey 2015: Median Hours Worked Per Week

Median Hours Worked Per Week

A typical medtech employee puts in about 45 hours per week at the office.
Want more? Check out our free Medtech Salary Survey report, with breakdowns by job description.

Medtech Salary Survey 2015: Benefits

Median Bonus

Health insurance, dental insurance, and bonuses are the most common benefits medtech employees report receiving.
Want more? Check out our free Medtech Salary Survey report, with breakdowns by job description. 

Could an All-Plastic Design Make TAVR 30 Times Safer?

Direct Flow Medical explores the next generation of transcatheter aortic valve replacement devices made from polymers and completely free of metals. The company says that the all-plastic design could result in a safety profile that is a quantum leap better than that of TAVR valves with metal-based frames.

Kristopher Sturgis

Direct Flow MedicalWhile catheter-based heart valves represent a much-less invasive treatment option than traditional surgical valve replacement, the procedure is not without its risks. A significant number of patients receiving TAVR devices face problems with aortic regurgitation (AR), which can lead to more-serious complications, says Randolph Chitwood, MD, director of surgeon relations for Direct Flow Medical.

Based in Santa Rosa, CA, where Medtronic also has its vascular headquarters, Direct Flow Medical is developing an all-plastic TAVR device it says could minimize the risk of AR. "From the surgical experience, it was very clear that AR was bad for patients," Chitwood says. "We wanted to build a device that left the physician in control of the procedure, having the ability to fine tune the position of the device, and assess the result prior to committing to implantation. We wanted the final implant to be like the gold standard, a surgical valve."

Ultimately, the solution came in the form of an inflatable device with a formed-in-place support structure. This completely new approach enables any surgeon to implant the device and specifically position the valve, allowing for it to be precisely placed within the heart. All of this is made possible through the complete substitution of all metal materials with new polymer-based materials.  

Chitwood will be speaking about the new device and the benefits of using polymer materials at MD&M Philadelphia, which runs October 7 to 8. In the following Q&A, Chitwood elaborates on Direct Flow Medical's new approach to transcatheter aortic valve replacement devices, and how their new polymer-based device could serve as the new gold standard in valve technology, and improve treatment for patients whose aortic valve opening has narrowed.

MPMNWhat went into the process of selecting the right polymer for this device, and what sort of advantages does it offer?

ChitwoodWe needed something that in a liquid form had very low viscosity, solidified quickly, was radiopaque, and was tolerable for patients if it was inadvertently spilled into the bloodstream. In the solid form, it had to form the permanent support structure of the device. It had have high strength, be creep resistant, biocompatible, etc. We conducted an exhaustive search on available platforms and found nothing that adequately met our needs. So we had to develop it ourselves.

We started from the ground zero. We built a polymer chemistry lab and put together a team of device development engineers, material scientists, and PhD polymer chemists.  We looked at countless different chemical families and settled on a water soluble epoxy backbone, with an organically-bound iodine additive for radiopacity. The real discovery came in finding the right amine blend. This is where, through a lot of experimentation, we were able to develop something that met all those divergent characteristics.


Plastic planes an integral role in the design of the entire TAVR device, including in the delivery system.

MPMNWhat were some of the biggest challenges you faced in developing this device, specifically from a materials standpoint?

ChitwoodDeveloping the polymer was a big challenge, but it actually solved a lot of other issues and presents quite a few opportunities. Stent frames, especially nitinol frames, are by necessity designed to be right on the edge of failure. With our polymer frame, we have a safety factor of more than 30 times that of metal-based frames. Having a polyester covered, balloon inflatable frame allows us the ability of not having to deform our support structure in order for it to fit into a low profile catheter for delivery. Because we don't have to accommodate for additional room to deliver our support structure, we can utilize the same valve thickness and material as surgical valves. Our bovine tissue is the same thickness and processed the same ways as surgical valves.  These features will become very important as TAVR therapy moves from extreme risk to lower risk AS patients. ...

We believe we created a better transcatheter valve platform. We believe this technology platform has the potential to be revolutionary.  This is the first and only commercial iteration of a polymer TAVR device and we are planning on further development and future iterations.  It was designed to be a very versatile platform. European physicians have already put our device (off-label) in various other valve positions to treat tricuspid regurgitation and mitral regurgitation. We believe there are clear advantages to this technology in the mitral position and we are developing a platform and clinical testing program for this indication.

MPMNAside from the material differences, what would you say sets this Direct Flow device apart from those made by other companies including Edwards LifeSciences and Medtronic?

ChitwoodWell I think what defines Direct Flow for me is the clinical results. The bottom line, it's about the patient. When we talk about things like survival and simple measures of quality of life in these extreme risk patients--where the Direct Flow Medical valve has been studied--we really stands apart from the field. We believe our Discover [troa;] 2-year data demonstrates best in class survival and AR reductions when compared to data from trials in similar populations.

The DFM device also offers some other advantages for the implanting physician, being in control during the procedure. That fact that our platform is immediately functional upon inflation allows the physician the ability to take their time in delivering the device to its appropriate position. Our platform is repositionable with millimetric control for fine tuning. Our platform also conforms to the patient's anatomy. As we all know, no two patients are exactly alike. By precisely conforming to the patient's anatomy we can virtually eliminate aortic regurgitation. And aortic regurgitation which has been shown to be associated with increased survival rates. Our platform is also designed to be fully retrievable. This allows the physician the ability to change device sizes if needed or the ability to leave nothing behind if the desired result isn't obtained.

MPMNWhat sort of insights can you share about early clinical trial results?

ChitwoodOur U.S. pivotal trial Salus is in progress and currently enrolling patients. Our European CE mark Discover trial 2-year data showed excellent results with 80% survival, 100% mild or less aortic regurgitation, with 93% of the patients being in NYHA Class I or II in these extreme risk patients. We also demonstrated sustained hemodynamics in EOA and valve gradients through 2 years.  We also have postmarket registries that show very similar results: Naber.... Discover Registry....

MPMN: How soon do you expect these new TAVR devices to hit the market? Are there any significant challenges that need to be addressed before that time arrives?

Chitwood: We launched commercially in Europe in 2013 and are closing in on 2000 procedures. We started the U.S. Salus Pivotal trial in Q4 of 2014 and will need to enroll nearly 1000 patients in 45 sites in a 2:1 randomized fashion. Post-trial enrollment we will need 1 year follow up on these patients and then filing with the FDA. It's still too early to speculate on a date for U.S. commercial lunch.

(Chitwood will be speaking about the new device and the benefits of using polymer materials at MD&M Philadelphia, which runs October 7 to 8.)

Kristopher Sturgis is a contributor to Qmed and MPMN.

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Starkey Fires 4 of Its Top Executives

There are more questions than answers for now when it comes to privately held Starkey Hearing Technologies (Eden Prairie, MN) letting go of its president and three other top executives.

Chris Newmarker

There is a lot to be puzzled about right now when it comes to a management shakeup at one of the top hearing technology companies in the world.

It has been nearly a week since Starkey Hearing Technologies founder and CEO Bill Austin emailed employees to tell them he was letting go of president Jerry Ruzicka and three other top executives at the privately held company. (A report from September 10 by KARE suggests that a total of six employees were fired as part of a reorganization initiative.)

But on Monday, Starkey emailed Qmed the same statement from Austin that it emailed other media outlets last week: "We can't comment due to an ongoing investigation. There are no issues that affect our company, and it's business as usual."

Marshall Tanick, a prominent employment attorney in Minneapolis-St. Paul, confirmed to Qmed that he is now representing Ruzicka, but declined to disclose more information on the situation at this time.

Other executives let go include chief financial officer Scott Nelson, operations senior vice president Keith Guggenberger, and human resources vice president Larry W. Miller, according to the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. Two executive assistants also lost their jobs.

One executive assistant guessed to the Star Tribune that some kind of internal power struggle may have resulted in the firings.

Starkey operates 21 facilities and conducts business in more than 100 markets worldwide. It lists its employee numbers in the 1001 to 5000 range on LinkedIn. The 52-year-old company develops, manufactures, and distributes hearing aids through the Audibel, NuEar, MicroTech, AudioSync, and original Starkey brands.

Learn more about cutting-edge medical devices at MD&M Philadelphia, October 7-8.

Chris Newmarker is senior editor of Qmed and MPMN. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker.

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